Kelly Ripa joined Live! With Regis and Kelly in 2001, and the former soap star has been a mainstay of the show ever since. After nearly 20 years in the job, Ripa looked back on the various periods she's gone through on the morning chatfest, including working with three different co-hosts.
She told Variety:
When Regis [Philbin] first announced his retirement, it was a strange thing. I think there was a contract dispute, I don’t know what happened, but he announced he was leaving on air, and it was a shocking moment. But then he decided he would wait until the end of his contract, so he’d be there for a year.
What the show liked about Regis and me, is that we didn’t really have a relationship. They liked two people coming together, having breakfast and letting it all unfold. The network and studio’s fear of Ryan [Seacrest] and me is we are so close and we’ve been so close — it’d be like working with yourself!
Tensions allegedly escalated with her second co-host, Michael Strahan, when he announced his departure for Good Morning America. Ripa reportedly felt that she wasn't give enough of a heads-up and, according to Variety, "walked off the show for a dayslong break."
Reflecting on the Strahan exit situation, Ripa recalled:
I don’t think there was an on-air woman that I didn’t hear from: either a personal letter or an email or a text or DM. It’s so easy to think that it’s just you. But you’d be amazed how many people don’t feel seen or heard at all. I didn’t kick up a fuss; it wasn’t a big thing; I was just like, I’m not doing this. If I’m not worthy of a discussion, if I’m not worthy of you running this conversation by me — it was outrageous.